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Dollcasters: Is Network TV just a Few Segments Away from a Team of Vinyl Broadcasters?

The other week, I was watching “The O’Reilly Factor,” and Bill O’Reilly was in rare form. I can always tell when the cable pundit is going to be on fire because he begins his program with an extra-large, extra-broad finger point and proclamation of “Caution! You’re about to enter the No Spin Zone.” On this particular night’s episode, he was practically levitating out of his chair as he greeted viewers and warned them to buckle their armchair seatbelts.

The show was its usual bombastic parade of talking heads, but O’Reilly was unusually giddy during his “Culture Warrior” segment. He and his two societal critics got their knives out and nattered on about a provocative new “Barbie”—a doll, according to their standards, that was garbed in a too-skimpy, too-revealing black dress.


During the roundtable session, the Barbie doll was taken to task for being too sexy, for being an unrealistic role model for children and young girls and for setting a bad example by encouraging eating disorders. (Yes, the doll was scolded for not eating three square meals a day.) O’Reilly, who always declares he’s looking out for the folks, cautioned parents to think twice before buying one of these vinyl voluptuaries for the little kids at home.

What I found fascinating about the whole exchange is that the FOX Network is known for its rather glamorous, highly made-up news anchors. The majority of their news presenters are young blond women in their late twenties to early thirties who stand just a peroxided hair under 6 feet tall. There’s a joke that the station is called FOX because it exclusively hires foxes.

The women who were surrounding O’Reilly that night were typical of the station’s stable: perky, pretty and passionate. I always find it intriguing that the network’s “anchorettes” don’t wear lipstick: They wear shiny lip gloss.    

Despite their own rather cocktail party-ish demeanor, the debaters were scandalized by how inappropriate the new Barbie was in her skin-showing togs.

That got me to thinking how Mattel should team with FOX or CNN or MSNBC and create a line of media-savvy Barbies. Incidentally, the new “I Can Be” Barbie, slated for release in September, is a TV news anchor. There was actually a global vote among fans for what Barbie’s latest occupation should be, and television journalist won hands-down among the young girls who weighed in. (Computer engineer won the overall popular vote.)

It’s great that Barbie is going to be portraying a television anchor, but Mattel or some other manufacturer should really work hand-in-hand with a news agency and concoct a group of dolls that can really deliver the news.
Clad in pastel power suits, coiffed and combed, the dolls can have their strings pulled and can give us the latest Dow readings, or chirpily announce the night’s winning lottery numbers. Modern technology has probably allowed for chips to be put into the dolls, so they can emote longer stories in accent-free regional-less newscaster dialect.

Don’t think I’m just rambling and foolishly free-associating. Taiwan has introduced a set of animated CGI figures that act out their country’s tawdriest nightly leads (so far, the Tiger Woods scandal and the Al Gore masseuse allegations have gotten the full robotic treatment).

Not to be outdone, Italy, France, Canada, and several other nations have found success with the “Naked Newshour” franchise. (I kid you not.) It is exactly what the name suggests, so why not a news program staffed by plastic personalities?

News and puppetry are not strangers to one another. I recall how a rumor used to circulate that Ted Koppel was the childhood model for Howdy Doody, which was, unfortunately, not true. And there was a British weekly series, “Spitting Image,” that bitingly lampooned politicians, newsmakers and headline grabbers. The keen satire was done by a panel of edgy and adult-only puppets.  

So, my dollcasting dream is not so far-fetched. I think the time will come when our news will be delivered by attractive and articulated dolls. I think the Katie Courics, Diane Sawyers and Megyn Kellys of the world are just opening the door for their eventual smaller and snazzier counterparts.

Families will happily gather to watch the news together; anchors will never grow old and will never have to worry about being put out to pasture. The Eyewitness News teams will always be an eyeful and will always joyfully give us our evening earful.

Until then, I’ll have to turn on Bill O’Reilly and his panel of rotating lovelies to see the next-best thing to Barbie Broadcasting.

Whether they’re discussing hemlines that are too high or necklines that are too low, his guest commentators are the embodiments of living, breathing dolls. And every so often, the news cycle stops spinning and an 11½-inch fashion doll can become the hot-button topic of the day.

What do you think about dolls doing the news? And, conversely, newscasters looking so much like dolls? I’d love to hear from you, and remember: name and e-mail if you wish to opine.

Photo Captions
The I Can Be "Barbie" (above) matches her prowess with the TelePrompter. The September 2010 release has Barbie as a TV news anchor. It seems a perfect fit: She’ll be following in the pumps of FOX reporter Megyn Kelly (above), for instance.

An uproar over Barbie’s latest incarnation in her little black dress landed smack in the middle of a cable-TV news debate. The doll’s style and societal effect were called into serious question.

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I love Megyn Kelly and all the people at Fox. They tell the truth, which is hard to find in news these days. I would buy a Megyn Kelly doll for my children. She's smart, educated, attractive, and fearless. She's in the news all this week because of the DOJ scandal, and she's the one who broke it. Great for you, Megyn. We need more newscasters and women like you. Mattel, make a real anchor woman doll!
Rita , July 02, 2010
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Ronnie, I think GI Joe is on the FOX Network, too, and he's called Ollie North. Sean Hannity is Captain America, and Glenn Beck is the Joker. Pretty women are used to sell everything in America (cars, fast food, banks). People like to look at attractive faces. It makes sense. When a woman is beautiful and bright, she has a career anywhere she wants to go. Barbie Broadcasting is already here. I'm waiting for Barbie White Housing.
Ruth Graham , June 30, 2010
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mmmm, and whether or not the anchor doll would be having her strings pulled could depend largely on what news station she worked for?? BTW I glanced through each of the Barbie dolls lined up in the little black dress to see if anyone had slipped in one of the anchor girls of today. Really, I did.
Darlene , June 30, 2010
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can't wait for these anchorettes to arrive.....i guess that greta van sustren will be the equivalent of "midge" barbie's pity friend!
patricia park , June 30, 2010 | url
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All the networks have pretty anchor women. The girls are always eye candy, and the men are usually older and "distinguished" looking. It's the whole older man/younger woman vibe being played out on the news. The anchors are all Barbie clones. Where are the rugged GI Joe newsmen? I'd watch that!
Ronnie , June 30, 2010

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Latest Articles from News & Notes

One World Doll Project, Tonner Doll Company merge to become Tonner One World

One World Holdings, Inc. and Tonner Doll Company, Inc., announced Dec. 3, 2015, that their Boards of Directors have approved a definitive agreement for One World Holdings' subsidiary, The One World Doll Project, to merge with Tonner Doll. The agreement was entered into Dec. 2. Following the closing of the merger, the combined business will change its name to Tonner One World.

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Very informative article. I am happy for Tonner Doll and hope that their new venture enables them to continue creating beautiful dolls.
Terri Gold , December 05, 2015 | url

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2015 DOLLS Awards Industry's Choice winners announced

The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.

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Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.

The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.

To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:

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The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:

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BLACKALL ASSOCIATES INC. 
ANNOUNCING Winner of the Summer Heat Photo Contest

August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat. 

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i have very old magazines need to sell them before something happens to them
margie , December 20, 2014
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i really like all the barbie balack dress, can i ask question can i buy this, because its all out in the market now here in the philippines, can you help me please im a big fan of thiss dolls
mark christian paul l. carigma , December 16, 2014 | url

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The Chicago Toy Show

You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.

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